The Stella Awards

Proof of entitlement mentality

It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those
unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?
That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and
verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you
scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stella's for the past year:

7TH PLACE : Kathleen Robertson of Austin , Texas was awarded $80,000 by a
jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who
was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandablysurprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own

6TH PLACE : Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000
plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord.
Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the
car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

5TH PLACE : Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was
leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for
Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could
not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house
because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled
it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of
Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance
company claiming undue mental Anguish.
Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson
$500,000 f or his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep
scratching. There are more...

4TH PLACE : Jerry Williams, of Little Rock , Arkansas , garnered 4th
Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical
expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle -
even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams
did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle
might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite becaus e Williams had
climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with
a pellet gun.
Grrrrr ... Scratch, scratch.

3RD PLACE : Amber Carson of Lancaster , Pennsylvania because a jury
ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she
slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink
was on t he floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds
earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible
for their own actions?
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more
Stella's to go...

2ND PLACE : Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a
night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the
floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was
trying to sneak through the ladies room win dow to avoid paying the $3.50
cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh,
yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1ST PLACE : (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please) This
year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv
Grazinski, of Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , who purchased a new
32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU
football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at
70 mph and calmly left the drive r's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago
to make herself a sandwich Not surprisingly, the motor home left the
freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued
Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't
actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma
jury awarded her, are you sitting down?, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.
Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit,
just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor

Are we, as a society, becoming more stupid...?